Regional governments in the nine northeastern states of Brazil on Thursday announced the temporary suspension of the contract they signed with the Aesthetic Institute and Russia’s Sovereign Fund to import 37 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19.
The suspension was due to the fact that the Brazilian health authorities had approved the use of Sputnik V in Brazil with several restrictions and that the Ministry of Health had not included this vaccine in its national immunization campaign.
The National Health Monitoring Agency (Anvisa) allowed the import of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines in June, but only “some specified batches” and “exceptionally and temporarily”.
The regulator set a series of “conditions” for the use of the Russian immune system in Brazil and limited its application to one percent of the population in each of the northeastern states.
The suspension of the contract was announced in a statement by Consorcio Nordeste, the forum that brings together the governors of the nine states in northeastern Brazil, the country’s poorest.
According to the Northeast Consortium, the contract suspension occurred at a time when the first batch of one million vaccines was expected to be delivered due to “new restrictions imposed by Anvisa, the vaccine not being included in the national immunization plan and the lack of an import license.”
So far, the only vaccines included in the national immunization plan are those from AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Pfizer and Janssen laboratories, which are licensed for use by Anvisa.
“It is unfortunate. Brazil is experiencing a high case of deaths, with about a thousand deaths per day, and we have vaccines available, but they were prevented from entering the country due to the decision of Anfisa,” said the Governor of the State of Piauí, Wellington Dias, President of the Northeast Confederation.
Dias said the contract will be suspended until Anvisa authorizes permanent and unconditional use of the vaccine.
“We have already suspended the delivery of the first vaccines, and now we are agreeing to suspend the contract until we get the authorization and release Sputnik V in Brazil,” he added.
This was mentioned by the Russian sovereign fund The doses that will be sent to Brazil will now be distributed in Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia.
Anfisa, in a statement issued on Thursday, clarified that it required the import of Sputnik to fulfill 22 conditions in light of the need to “fill the gaps in existing information regarding aspects of the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine.”
The memo stated that “Anfisa confirms that it did not add any other condition” and confirms that it was “guided by absolute transparency in all its decisions in defense of protecting the health of the population.”
And Brazil, which has recorded more than 560,000 deaths and 20 million infections, is the second country with the largest number of victims of the epidemic and the third with the largest number of infections, surpassed only by the United States and India.
Despite these high numbers, the weekly average of deaths fell this Thursday to 887 deaths per day, the lowest level in about seven months, and the rate of injuries decreased to 32,460 per day, the lowest in eight months.
The decline in cases and deaths coincides with the acceleration of the vaccination process in Brazil, where about 50 percent of the population has already received the first dose of some immunization and 21 percent only the two doses or dose of the vaccine.
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